I think [The Leicester Comedy Festival] helps make Leicester a vibrant and exciting place, at a time of year [February] which isn’t usually associated with being vibrant or exciting,” Geoff Rowe, the Festival Director, advocates. The Leicester Comedy Festival (7 – 25 February) – which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year – has released its 2018 line-up. First launched in 1994, it is now the longest running comedy festival in the United Kingdom and brings some of the finest talent in comedy to the city.

This year’s line-up certainly doesn’t disappoint, including performances from Barry Cryer & Colin Sell, Sara Pascoe, Jonathan Pie, Katherine Ryan, Paul Chowdhry, Griff Rhys Jones and many more. In fact, next year’s festival will see an 8.5% increase in the number of acts performing, which will include 836 events across 69 venues, performed by 613 comedians and performers.

As well as a packed line-up, 2018’s festival will be celebrating its 25th anniversary with a range of special events, including An Interview with Harry Hill, 25 Acts for £25, Leicester Comedy Festival’s 25th Birthday Party, An Interview with Dave Johns and a Comic Relief Live show. Past festival favourites return this year, including The UK Pun Championships, Silver Stand-Up Competition, Beyond A Joke seminars & lectures and Secret Tour. “There’s plenty of one-off exclusive events which happen at the start of the festival,” Geoff tells us, “You can go and see famous people, but you can also see new, emerging comedians. People tell us it is a great night out.”

There is such a huge variety of acts, but Geoff gave us some advice on how to choose which acts to see: “Sometimes people tell us it can be daunting to know what to go and see, but either see someone you know off the telly or just take a punt. Pay your five or six quid and go see some comedy.” If you are feeling brave and are open to different experiences, there are a range of unique, quirky events that you can attend this year. “There is a show called Comedy in the Dark, which is a comedy show which happens entirely in the dark,” Geoff explains, “There is a show called Hotel D’Comedie, which takes place in hotel rooms in Hotel Maiyango where you literally go and visit comedians in their bedrooms, which is not quite as pervy as it sounds.”

Like the Edinburgh Fringe, the Leicester Comedy Festival takes place in venues far and wide across the city, including the Cathedral, De Montfort Hall, Firebug and even the University of Leicester’s Village Hub. “We produced a show in the Village Hub in Oadby back in Freshers Week. The response was fantastic, so we will be doing a similar show in February as part of the main festival.” The show, titled the Village Hub Comedy Club, features four different comedians, a mixed line-up, which has featured performances in the past from Carly Smallman, Chris Norton Walker, Darren Walsh and Lloyd Griffith. “I would really encourage students to come into town and dip in and out of performances throughout the 19 days.”


The Leicester Comedy Festival will take place between 7th and 25th February 2018. The Village Hub Comedy Club will take place on 8th February, 20:00, at The Village Hub, Oadby. The complete programme is available at www.comedy-festival.co.uk and tickets are on sale now. 


Brad Harper

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